16 Steps to make the Perfect Website for You
A website has the power to make or break your business or other professional endeavors. It can either turn you into one of the best or make you zero. Hence, it is important to have a perfect website right from the beginning. It is the best way online to reach out to the whole world. You don’t need to be a wizard or a high-level qualified person to make one. With the following proper steps, you can have your ideal website ready to make you successful.
Have a clear goal and purpose
The first thing to do is clearly outline goals about why are you making a website. Is it to promote your business? Product based or service based? Or for your freelancing? Or for a cause? Also set out other goals regarding the website. Who all should be your target audience, how many monthly visitors you want, how many newsletter subscribers you want etc.
Fix the budget
It depends on how big you want to go, how ambitious you are, and how much you can afford to spend on this online marketing. It may not only include website building, but also web hosting, analytics, research work, digital marketing promotion of the website etc. You can make one budget for all these or separate smaller ones.
Find the appropriate platform
For the platform to build your website, you can choose either one among any of a simple hosting website builder like Wix or any one among a CMS (Content Management System) builder like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla etc. Though the most popular choice is the code-it-yourself CMS option and in that, the WordPress platform, as it is more versatile.It depends on your budget, your own level of expertise and interest in it, if you can afford another person for this work etc.
Find an ideal Web host
Web hosting a very crucial part of your website ambitions. It affects many aspects of your website like uptime, speed, security backups etc. Don’t choose your web host only on pricing, but also on many such above mentioned aspects and reliability. The web host should always be available for you, in case of any emergency.
Make a structure plan
Plan in details about how your website pages will be built. Most of the websites have a home, about and a contact page. According to the use of the website and purpose, decide upon the other pages. They may be products, services, gallery, blog etc. different sections of your offerings; they should meet all your business goals.Plan an interactive and responsive website as it keeps more users interested than a static one.
Also plan on how the visuals and content will be placed on each page. Bring some uniqueness and freshness to each page. There should be one clear goal of each page of your website. For e.g. If it is meant for product description, then there should not be any history or about us in it. That way, the site visitors won’t get confused. Plan on making customer accounts if there will be any e-commerce on the website, and how & where all their data will be stored.
Plan the visuals and photos
Choosing a theme design and a color scheme is very important to impress potential customers as people are greatly affected by that. There are thousands of them in the website builders, just don’t select any flashy ones. If you like a paid theme and template, go for it. Select or make your color scheme choice and keep it uniform throughout the website. You can go for a dominant color and a complimentary color, a background color etc. Don’t choose many colors together, keep them to a minimum. All this is essential for a perfect branding of your business.
It is not just the content and theme that is important for the website, but also all the photos. Take and/or buy super high-quality professional photos for your website. They can be of your products, office premises, you and employees etc. Never compromise on photos and their quality. All of this helps users connect with your brand.
The Homepage is the most important
It is the first page that people see on your website and you know something about how the first impression is the last impression. It should convey all about your business clearly and should be the easiest to navigate. It should have links to every page of your website. Also, visitor account login, if it is needed.
The homepage is divided into two parts – above the fold, the part that is seen when the website loads; and below the fold, the rest of the homepage. Usually, keep above the fold part simplest and explain all about your business in short with logo, page links, some content, and call-to-action etc. Below the fold part should elaborate all that is on above the fold; and must have short contacts, sitemap, buttons etc. on the footer.
Make a mock-up
A wireframe or a mock-up is your website’s complete outline and the first design being the initial draft. It can be either done in programs like Photoshop or even on drawing papers with pencils. You don’t have to go in details, content can be filled with filler text lines and so on. A mock-up gives an overall initial idea of how your website will look like so that if you want to make any changes, then doing so at this stage is better than later.
Put in place a Content Strategy
Decide what all content will be there on the website; how and where it will be placed. It should give ample information to the site visitors. It can include about us, products/service description in short and long, blog posts, documents, slideshows, history and also all the visual content like pictures, charts, maps, videos etc. make it done from a professional writer. Do elaborate keyword research for your business and update it regularly; it is important for better Google search rankings. Select the frequency of the blog posts.
There should be a separate contacts page on the website and it also should be written on the bottom side of the homepage. Give all possible options you can to the customers, to contact you. A physical address of the office, if any; email IDs, mobile and/or landline numbers and a chat option on the website will also be great. Do regularly update this info if any changes occur.
Make a tracking plan
If you want to grow your business in the right direction and consistently and want to see whether the website is aiding in that or not, then a tracking plan should be in place. The most popular analytics tracker is Google Analytics. It tracks so many different parameters for your website like monthly visitors, time spent on the website and each page, a general location of visitors, behavior flow, no of hits etc.
If you have chosen an external web host, then the primary responsibility of your website security should be with them, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about it at all. Depending on your region or type of website, security threats may vary. Do your research and discuss with your web host in details about a comprehensive security plan and contingency plans. See to it that backups of your website are taken regularly.
Social media accounts and integration
It is advisable to have social media handles of your business as they will enhance the impact of your website and promote it too. Some of the popular ones where your account is a must are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Also, give buttons or links to these social accounts on your website homepage. You can also give feeds of these accounts and directly show the happenings of these social handles on the website.
Simplicity is the key
The complex your website will be for the visitor to navigate and understand, higher chances of that visitor to not come to the website again. An easy to maneuver website is the key to retain the visitors and reek in more. The simplicity should be the most on the homepage.
Once the basic or full website is made, don’t directly go live. First test it for various parameters like page load speed, whether the complete website is being loaded, is there buffering for videos if any etc. Try to make your website load fastest. Slower the load time, more chances of visitors turning away. Some tips to quick loading are: enabling caching, disabling unwanted plugins, use Cloudfare.
Publishing and updating
If you are satisfied with all the testing, one last option you can use is to request the reviews of your near and dear ones as they scrutinize it in their own browsers. You may do some last minute small changes. After that, as you ensure everything is perfectly done, go live! And promote that on the social media pages. Don’t relax after that, you constantly need to update it. No one likes a static and outdated website, not even Google. You should keep changing with times.